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Fashion, food and feminism.. the three things that bring together every single modern woman. With major social changes happening all over the world, equality and women’s issues have definitely been a forerunner for the same. Many experts believe that fashion is the mirror to kind of society existing at a point in time. For instance, forward-thinking designer Coco Chanel freed women from the corset giving them stylish creations to wear in a male-dominated space. This brought about a big shift in women’s role in society, so it is safe to say that fashion holds a lot of power and potential to influence the culture of an era.
With the behemoth growth of social media, these efforts by the fashion industry have taken on a newer and bigger form. Fashion companies and brands are constantly finding new ways to bring about gender equality. From marketing campaigns based on a cause to using fashion in showing solidarity for a social issue, these are some of the ways that fashion has brought about gender equality awareness in our society.
The Golden Globe Awards 2018 was held a few days ago the attendees wearing all black to promote the #TimesUp campaign. It was a form of subdued protest against sexual assault and champion equal pay for women. Men and women wore major labels like Chanel, Stella McCartney, Parda and much more to stand in solidarity for gender equality. The black outfits and Time’s Up brooches became a statement for social change by the biggest names in entertainment and fashion.
The fashion has been going back and forth on the issue of gender neutral clothing. Where efforts by brands like H&M were appreciated by the ‘Denim United’ line, it’s fast fashion counterpart Zara’s ‘Ungendered’ line was met with backlash. The recent years have also seen a rise in new brands like Sharp Suiting with a complete gender neutral range, designing without the difference for both men and women. Is gender neutral clothing the future of fashion? Only time will tell!
Slogan t-shirts have been championing women's issues for a long time. A big push to this form of fashion activism has come from the major brands and designers lending a hand with their own unique creations. The ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ t-shirt by Dior, the Instagram famous ‘Feminist AF’ t-shirts and Prabal Gurung’s ‘The Future Is Female’ t-shirts are but a few names that have chimed in.
United Colours Of Benetton has been a constant in creating it’s fashion marketing campaigns around social issues. There has been hits and misses but when major fashion brands choose to take notice of gender equality issues in their own creative ways, a dialogue is opened. Similar campaigns include Gucci’s Chime for Change program. With it’s open letter to major publications the brand discussed the importance of gender equality.
The fashion industry can only so much on its own. Collaborations among major industries are the way to bring social change. One fine example is the 'WEvolve' campaign initiated by The World Bank in partnership with major designers like Manish Malhotra and other fashion institutions. These partnerships help by bringing about harmony and camaraderie between the genders using art as a tool.
Interested in fashion and wish to know more? Read all you need to about the history and influences:
100 Years of Fashion by Cally Blackman for Rs 1,581. Buy it here
Powder Room: The Untold Story of Indian Fashion for Rs 379. Buy it here
Fashion. A History from the 18th to the 20th Century for Rs 1,149. Buy it here